Root meristematic cells of Vicia faba were examined, with both light and electron microscopes, in order to study the behaviour of the nucleolar material during the mitotic process. Under light microscopy, the preprophase nucleolus is seen to consist of a densely stained material in which are embedded several unstained vacuole-like structures of varying size. The electron microscope reveals that the dense nucleolar material is formed of two structurally distinct components, each segregated into irregularly shaped zones blending with one another. One of these components is represented by 150 A granules which, in places, are arranged into thread-like structures approximately 0.1 µ in diameter; the other component apparently consists of fibrils 60 to 100 A in diameter. The large and medium sized intranucleolar vacuoles contain loosely scattered granules and fibrils similar to those just described. The granular and fibrillar components of the denser portion of the nucleolus persist as such during prophase and disperse throughout the nuclear cavity at the time of nucleolar disintegration. After nuclear membrane breakdown, these granules and fibrils, as well as those of the nucleoplasm, mix freely with similar elements already present within the forming spindle. No evidence has been obtained that, during or after nucleolar disintegration, the structural components of the nucleolus become associated as such with the chromosomes to form an external or internal matrix. Our observations suggest the existence, of a matrix substance within late prophase, metaphase, and anaphase chromosomes, the fine structure of which bears strong resemblance to that of their constituent coiled chromonemata. Data are presented, moreover, that indicate that part of this matrix substance, presumably formed at some time during prophase, is released from the chromosomes during their anaphasic movement. A number of observations indicate that the main bulk of the next nucleolus is derived from a prenucleolar fibrillogranular material, arranged into thread-like structures some 0.1 µ in diameter, which collect in the interchromosomal spaces during early and midtelophase. Finally, our data would seem to favour the view that most of this prenucleolar material results from a resumption of the synthetic activity of the early and midtelophase chromosomes rather than from a mere shedding of a preexisting matrix substance.

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